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Schefflera- Plant Bio: Podcast Ep#38

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

Schefflera may not have a ton of variety but some classify this as an easy plant because of their low watering needs. They have beautiful waxy leaves that form an umbrella shape all along the stem for an impressive structure.

Botanical Name

Schefflera arboricola, Schefflera actinophylla, Schefflera alpine

Common Names

Umbrella Tree, Dwarf Umbrella Plant, Alpine Schefflera

Variety Names

You will mostly just find them listed as Schefflera arboricola or Variegated Schefflera arboricola but here are some varieties you may find...

  • Gold Capella, Janine, Luseane, Petite, Trinette, Sun Burst, Dazzle

Sun Requirements

Schefflera can do well in medium to bright, indirect sunlight. If you have a variegated variety, I would advise putting it in bright, indirect light so the variegation doesn't fade. If you place a Schefflera in lower light, the plant may become leggy.

Water Requirement

Allow your Umbrella Plant to dry out before watering. These can rot easily so it it best to keep it on the drier side. If you are unsure on how to read the amount of moisture your plant has, you can find a moisture meter reader on Amazon for pretty cheap!

Extra humidity is definitely beneficial to this plants health but not 100% necessary for constant, high humidity. On my Products I Use blog post, I list several items to help raise humidity if needed.


As I always say, there are LOTS of ways to fertilize plants. Unless you are extremely over fertilizing your plant, there isn't necessarily a wrong way to do this. I currently use Espoma Indoor! Liquid Plant Food and I fertilize every 2 weeks when I water my plants, starting around the end of February through October. I honestly probably only fertilize once or twice in winter because the plant isn't as active! I use about 1/2 to 3/4 the recommended amount of fertilizer because I would rather under fertilize than over fertilize my plants.

Here are what other sources said...

As you can see there are MANY ways to do fertilizing and it is completely up to you! There are tons of products out there you can try but an overall rule of thumb for houseplants is that it is best to under fertilize, rather than over fertilize. Always use the recommended amount, or less, when applying your fertilizer to houseplants.


The most common way to propagate is by using stem cuttings but you can also propagate by air layering.

Stem Cuttings: Cut below a leaf node (where the leaf cluster's stem meets the main stem). Leave at least a few inches of the stem. Cut off the leaf clusters in order to place the cutting into water or soil. It may take a few weeks to see any progress.

Air Layering: Find a place on the stem you want to make a cut into. Remove any leaves/stems that are present in that area. Cut no more than a third of the stem off in the area you want to see roots growing. Wrap the area in moss, soil or another medium to encourage root growth, and cover the medium with plastic wrap to hold in moisture. Keep the medium inside the plastic moist while rooting. This should also take a few weeks to see progress.

Other Facts

  • Part of the Araliaceae Family (Ginseng Family).

  • Aralia, English Ivy and the Ginseng plants are also in this family.

  • Native habitat of tropical Australia and Pacific Islands.

  • When in its native habit, it is grown as trees or shrubs, depending on the variety.

  • In your house, these can grow up to 5 feet tall, while in their native habitat they can grow anywhere from 10-25 ft.

  • Some plants can get fairly tall and become top heavy. You may need to stake it as it matures.

  • Scheffleras are very sensitive to drafty windows or doors. Keep it away from drafty windows and doors in colder months.

  • These do flower, but it rarely happens as a houseplant. They are tiny red flowers that aren't considered very showy.

  • Toxic to pets and humans. Check out Podcast Ep#31 for more info or the corresponding Blog post!

Instagram Q&A

I asked followers if they had any specific plant questions I could address in this podcast and blog. Here are the questions and answers for Schefflera...

"Are different variations more prone to disease?"

  • The only noted information I could find on this question was that the 'Amate' variety is resistant to spider mites. Most issues are related to pests or overwatering.

"I topped my variegated Schefflera to get a fuller plant. The new top growth is coming in green instead of variegated?"

  • I would consider this to be a somewhat normal yet frustrating thing. Schefflera are very inconsistent with their variegation. There may be a cluster of leaves that are all variegated and there could be one right next to it with no variegation. I would just try to be patient and hope that as the stem grows the plant will shoot out new variegated foliage.



Go to Apple Podcasts, Amazon, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and PodBean. Search for Houseplant Homebody to hear this episode and MANY more! You can also listen directly on my website under the Podcast page!


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Always written with extreme plant passion!

Love, Holly


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